Colbert County storm shelters open ahead of storms

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Preparation is key before severe weather events strike. Monday morning, EMA officials in Colbert County spent the morning making sure more than twenty storm shelters were ready for use.

“They may not be the most attractive thing, but they are very durable,” stated Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton.

So durable, a storm shelter like Colbert County uses withstood an EF5 tornado on April 27th, 2011 in Phil Campbell.

Melton went through several shelters himself checking bathrooms and electricity.

“We’re going around and checking on them because they have not been used a whole lot in the last probably four or five months,” Melton explained. “We’re trying to go over every one of them to just make sure they’re open, they’re available for people if they are needed later.”

More than 20 are scattered through-out Colbert County, with four more in the works.

Melton said they unlocked the shelters early Monday due to the impending weather threat. He wants to make sure people have plenty of time to get to them – before warnings are issued.

“We have a population of fifty-four thousand and we don’t have enough, will never have enough,” Melton stated. “However, people that live in mobile homes and don’t feel comfortable, maybe have tall trees in their yards, may feel a little bit more comfortable coming to some of these shelters.”

And Melton repeated, don’t wait about getting to a shelter. The last place you want to be - is on the road when storms hit.

Here is a complete list of open storm shelters in Colbert County.